Off my chest

by Jennifer on August 27, 2008

Dear Williams-Sonoma,

I appreciate your enduring optimism, I really do. Season after changing season, you make sure that your glorious catalog appears in my mailbox, despite the fact that I haven’t ordered anything from you in years. Yes, years. In fact, if you were to check your records, you would see that my registration on your site is no longer valid. It’s been that long.

Starting a couple of years back, I lusted after the copper risotto pan you advertised. No, lusted isn’t too strong a word. I imagined running my hands over the glistening smoothness of it, and pictured how it would look, hot and simmering on my stove, holding the food of the gods (the gods I worship, anyway). But you want $190 for it, damn you. And I’m just not there yet, at the point in my life when I could justify spending that much on one pan (I may never get there), though it breaks my heart that it is suited so perfectly to cook my very favorite food.

Plus, have you seen the cookware I own right now? That pan would stick out like a stripper in a monastery (forgive me). You have no idea.

(You should also know that I won’t be ordering these, either–though they’re freaking gorgeous. I want them, I do, and I loathe, with a hot burning jealousy, every single person who has ordered them and is using them this very day. So there.)

Don’t give up on me just yet, please. There’s a good chance I will order something eventually. I’m human, and you’re a seductive force. In fact, I’ve got my eye on this. Or maybe a potato peeler. Better to keep you guessing.

Yours (oh yes, I’m yours),



Dear Victoria’s Secret,

We had a good run, didn’t we? All those years when I could look through your catalog and easily spot a dozen things I just had to have. You inspired me, really. Sometimes, even, so much that I would go to the mall (which I hate to do) and linger among the racks of lacy, pretty things and even walk out the door with one of your big, pretty, be-tissued bags, full of new underpinnings. Those were the days, weren’t they?

So maybe it’s out of nostalgia that you still send me coupons for free pairs of panties. Don’t think I’m not grateful, because I am. It’s just that, well, I’ve moved on. It’s not you, it’s me. And these days, there’s more of me than I like to admit, and now you and I just don’t look as good together as we used to. Maybe one day we will again, and I’ll get back to that sweet size I used to be (Or close. I’ll take close), when I would visit you every 3 or 4 months for a whole new supply of pretties. But, for now at least, I buy my lovelies here. Because they also sell underpinnings, but of the 9-pack variety for the under-12 set who now live in my house. And for me, they sell these, which are ridiculously comfortable. And affordable (No offense. None taken, I’m sure), which is oh so important these days when all our money is going toward gas and air conditioning (hello, $320 this month).

You should know that Target, your competition, also sells useful things like paper towels and laundry detergent and batteries and even frozen waffles–so, until you can do all of that for this busy mom, I think you should see other people. I suspect you already are, and it doesn’t hurt my feelings. Not even a little. I get it, and I want you to be happy.

Until we meet again one day (good lord, may it be soon), I shall think of you fondly.

Yours, in nostalgia (my, I have good memories!),

The Mom Jennifer


Dear Lane Bryant,
Carry on.
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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Madge August 27, 2008 at 11:34 am

hey, you found that picture of me modeling underwear for Target. cool.

Madges last blog post..The Diary of a Mad Woman

Jan August 27, 2008 at 12:07 pm

I don’t think I’ve ever stepped foot in a Victoria’s Secret – they just don’t design for the short, dumpy crowd. *sigh*

And Lane Bryant? They just went and got all schizophrenic – shop online and you’ll look like your grandmother. Shop at one of their retail stores and you’ll look like a plus-size streetwalker.

Hey, that spoon in that picture has a big hole smack-dab in the middle – how would I scarf risotto straight from the pan with that?

Jan August 27, 2008 at 12:09 pm


Them Italians have been guzzling too much cheap Chianti…

Jennifer Harvey August 27, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Madge–You just weren’t get enough attention for your modeling work, so I thought I would help.

–I know, right? That price puts a lot of pressure on a recipe!

Mrs. G. August 27, 2008 at 1:06 pm

I hate Victoria’s Secret. Their XL is an insult to extra larges all over the planet and the asses who couldn’t dream of fitting into them. That Victoria is a real bitch.

Mrs. G.s last blog post..Things that should have given Mrs. G. Pause

Suzanne August 27, 2008 at 1:23 pm

This may be a sign of age….I just had the same reaction to those Ruffino pans from W&S that I used to have to a Harlequin romance.

As to Victoria Secret, the last time I was there, it was at an outlet mall and I walked out with seven bras and ten panties b/c they priced oh so well and they had my big girl size.

Suzannes last blog post..Out of Synch with the Natural Order of Things

liv August 27, 2008 at 1:24 pm

i think it was because of the acorn embellishments on that pan and the lid that i coveted it so.

victoria’s? not interested in the secret…

ByJane August 27, 2008 at 1:47 pm

I wondered who bought those little lace tap pants at Target. Me, I’m with your under-12s and buy mine by the 9-pack, thank you very much. But the W & S photos–now that is real porn.

ByJanes last blog post..Death and Dying – at Midlife

jenrantsraves August 27, 2008 at 2:21 pm

Funny stuff! If you really want to have “fun” go into VS and tell them you wear a 38 A. Then they will measure you, probably in front of everyone, and tell you you actually are a 32 A. Then, you will laugh uproariously in their faces and snort. You know, or something like that.

Jennifer Harvey August 27, 2008 at 2:29 pm

Mrs. G–I always liked you, but you keep giving me new reasons. Also, has anyone ever wondered why Victoria has to try so hard to get laid? (Yeah, yeah. I know it all makes for a pretty package and men like that, and women like to wear it, et cetera…)

Suzanne–Those pans are HOT. (Did you see what I just did there?) Also, at an outlet mall, I might give Victoria another chance.

Liv–The secret is probably a bunch of nonsense anyway.

ByJane–All that shiny metal, those curves. Like racecars, but for people who like to cook.

Jen–It would be even funnier if you and I (and my aforementioned chest) went into VS and told them that I was a 38A or B. Hell, or C. It would be fun to mess with them. So, when do you want to go?

we_be_toys August 27, 2008 at 2:36 pm

These are three letters I need to write myself! I have to confess though, I still sneak into the William Sonoma store whenever I am at the mall (2x a year, maybe 3) and buy anything, a roux whip, so maybe not that letter!
This just tickled the hell out of me.
“Carry on. Whatever”

The Tapdancer

we_be_toyss last blog post..A Night At The Palace

anymommy August 27, 2008 at 2:50 pm

I covet in a little bit of a scary way the copper soup pot. It’s huge and so soupy and wonderful. It also costs more than some cars. Pretty catalogs will have to be how I get my fix as well.

anymommys last blog post..Diving Blind

Louise August 27, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Would you really use the pannini maker-thing? I think the big pot is prettier to just have sitting around.

I’ll make you some risotto that you’ll in the future kill for if you come visit me!

Louises last blog post..Not Necessarily Its Intended β€œUse”

Csquaredplus3 August 27, 2008 at 4:18 pm

Love your teeny, tiny LANE BRYANT note. Very fun. Thanks for the dose of reality that made me smile!

Gwen August 27, 2008 at 4:30 pm

LOL. At one point my husband called all those catalog companies and canceled every single one. (Who’s OCD?). Now I just need to get my e-mail address off their mailing lists, too.

Jennifer Harvey August 27, 2008 at 4:54 pm

WeBeToys–I love kitchen stores. I’d rather have something from there than VS any day. Glad you liked the LB comment. πŸ™‚

AnyMommy–I had to look up that soup pot. Wow, it’s beautiful. No wonder you covet it. And now I want soup AND risotto.

Louise–Yes, I would use it. Someone I know has one, and she’s made me a few yummy sandwiches on it. You make risotto? I’ve been meaning to visit… πŸ™‚

Csquaredplus3–:-) Glad you liked it.

Gwen–I’ve done that wish some catalogs, but there are a few that I love to receive. I should give up the rest–you know, to save the trees. (guilt)

Ree August 27, 2008 at 5:33 pm

I LOVE the O’Malley boy shorts. I have pink, white and purple lace ones…

Williams Sonoma? I don’t cook.

Vicky’s Slutwear? Love the IPEX bras for their, um, cold-hiding factors…but I never make it to the free panty shopping either.

Rees last blog post..Purposeless is Another Word for Random…

Aren’t they comfortable? πŸ™‚ Also, I don’t cook much, either, unless Mr. H is home. He might argue that I don’t cook much then, either. Still, wonder if I could convince him that I would cook, with the right pans? Yeah, probably not.

texasholly @ June Cleaver Nirvana August 27, 2008 at 5:36 pm

I find this so funny that you connected these two. Two places I continue to spend WAY too much money, but at both locations I get no CRAP from my husband when he sees it on the bill…hmmmmm.

texasholly @ June Cleaver Nirvanas last blog post..Why Holly’s Dentist is better than your Dentist

Smart man. πŸ™‚

Lisa Milton August 27, 2008 at 5:42 pm

Dear Ms. Harvey,

Recently you made mention of a blogging malaise, a need for a break.

Clearly, it worked. This post was solid gold. My hiney thanks you for the laughs.

Adoring Thursday Drive Reader and worshiper of the Golden Pan.

I can’t decide whether to kiss your cheek or make you some risotto. Maybe both! Thank you!

Manic Mommy August 27, 2008 at 5:43 pm

Thank you for that bit of nostalgia. I remember when all my bras and panties *matched.*

Now? I buy undies at Costco when I go in for the 20 lb bag of frozen Perdue chicken breasts. And I’m praying the straps on one of the two comfortable bras I wear can hold out until the boys go back to school.

Manic Mommys last blog post..Wordless Wednesday

It would help if all men were colorblind, you know? Good luck with those straps! I know the feeling.

Mrs. Schmitty August 27, 2008 at 6:29 pm

Williams-Sonoma catalog is kind of like the Pottery Barn one. Fun to look at on the john, then it’s thrown into the wastebasket. I do order from Victoria’s secret though. They have the only comfortable bras and undies that will fit my oversized bewbs and butt. Lane Bryant…ROCK ON!

Mrs. Schmittys last blog post..And They Call This A Family Show

Bewbs made me laugh!

Kellie C. August 27, 2008 at 6:37 pm

Everytime I try on the VS stuff, I think I should look like the catalog and then I look in the mirror and sadly I do NOT! With all you save at Target for Panties maybe Williams-Sonoma may not be such a dream?????

At least, with pots and pans, we know they’ll fit on the stove. How did I miss out on the VS model gene pool? Also, I would love to be your size!

Kimberly August 27, 2008 at 7:11 pm

I could have written this post! I too, lovingly thumb through the W-S catalogs that are sent here so optimistically. But then I think, “when cooking Annie’s Mac ‘n Cheese or boiling up a vegetarian hot dog, does it really matter if it’s in a $300 pan?” Sadly, it does not.

And, I too now buy all my underthings from Tarjay. I haven’t been in a Victoria’s Secret in almost a decade. I don’t miss them.

Kimberlys last blog post..Wordless Wednesday: The popsicle

Tarjay rocks. And there’s no one asking if they can start a dressing room for you…though I do remember that was nice. Someday.

RiverPoet August 27, 2008 at 7:50 pm

What is it about cookware? I love to go into the stores and fondle the Le Creuset cookware in lime green. I fix my make-up in the shine of the All-Clad. I drooled over the Henckel knives until I finally gave in and bought a set. Then my hubby ruined a couple of the knives by putting them in the d/w. (The handles and labels are not d/w-safe). Now they look like I bought them at Target. Until I regain total control of my kitchen (that is, when I’m not friggin’ sick all the time), I’m not buying anything else that requires special care!

On the other hand, one of the first places I ran to after losing a significant amount of weight was Victoria’s Secret. To buy some sexy thigh-highs for my 25th anniversary. Oh yeah, Mama still got it! (Uh…sometimes…)

I also danced when I cut up my Lane Bryant credit card!

Love your open letters. I wonder if they ever fall into the hands of the intended?

Peace – D

RiverPoets last blog post..Hi Ho Silver, Away!

I will dance, too!

There’s just something so promising about nice cookware, like the ingredients will come to something when they’re cooked in nice pots. Hope you feel better before long.

flutter August 27, 2008 at 11:29 pm

Le Creuset. That is all I am sayin.

flutters last blog post..NC-17

That says it all.

dragonfly August 28, 2008 at 3:00 am

The pans are lovely…but I’d have to learn how to cook. πŸ˜‰

Thanks for the laugh..

dragonflys last blog post..Wordless Wednesday – Little Drummer Boy

That does seem to be a requirement, darn it. πŸ™‚

Treasia August 28, 2008 at 6:04 am

I hate going into Victoria’s Secret even just to buy perfume and lotions. I know I’m over weight but I darn sure don’t need the girls working there giving me funny looks to remind me. we can’t all be size 0

Treasias last blog post..Wednesday HUMP HUNK Day

I’d like to have a word or two with the person who made up Size 0. The hell?

flurrious August 28, 2008 at 6:30 am

I was looking at the panini press in a W-S recently. My friend and I may have been a little too loud when saying, “this is the same thing as a George Foreman grill!” The employees were giving us a look that you really don’t want to see in a space that also contains a lot of knives.

My guess is that you’re probably not the first to ever make that comparison!

the mama bird diaries August 28, 2008 at 6:31 am

Oh thank you for the morning laugh. Perfect.

πŸ™‚ I would have provided coffee, too, if I could figure out how to do that on here.

melissa August 28, 2008 at 7:03 am

I wonder why Pottery Barn keeps sending ME magazines! Funny–they’re more optimistic than I am!

melissas last blog post..Everyone gets their kicks

Really, they should start enclosing money. Yes, that would help.

Daryl August 28, 2008 at 8:26 am

O. MY. BOB. Too funny .. especially Lane Bryant … Vicky’s Secret has nice looking undies but they do not last .. one/two washing and the bra shrinks and the panties loose all elasticity ..

As for W-S … sigh .. if only I cooked …


Daryls last blog post..thursdays in the hood

If I lived in New York, I would never cook. And I’d have a drawer full of take-out menus (of places that deliver, mostly).

Denise August 28, 2008 at 10:38 am

I’m with ya on Target. I get the pots, underwear and everything else there!

Denises last blog post..Compliment War

What’s that movie where the girl lives in the Wal-Mart store? Well, I would have picked Target. I should just hand them $100 ($200?) when I walk in the door.

Lisa August 28, 2008 at 11:09 am

Get the Panni press–I totally puffy heart mine and use it at least two or three times a week (be sure to get the one that opens and has a grill side!). I don’t have time for the copper upkeep–I am Le Creuset all the way πŸ™‚

I am waiting on losing ten pounds before I even consider Victoria’s Secret

Lisas last blog post..Rude @ssholes do exist, even in Texas

I’m coming over later, and I’ll call with my panini order. πŸ™‚

Jenn @ Juggling Life August 28, 2008 at 11:27 am

Risotto. Sigh.

Jenn @ Juggling Lifes last blog post..Juggling Life–It’s Not Just The Title Of A Blog!

I know. Sigh.

Kate August 28, 2008 at 12:59 pm

The Lane Bryant part is hilarious!!!!

Thanks! πŸ™‚

Ann August 28, 2008 at 1:16 pm

I will see your $320 for AC this month and raise you another $240. Frickin’ desert, man.

Victoria’s secret can kiss my PMS ass!

See you at Target, then!

Anns last blog post..The Hot Mess

Holy frickin’ cow! I thought we had it bad…I can think of better ways to spend that much money, you know?

Like at Target.

Bruce August 28, 2008 at 3:34 pm

There should be a study on this somewhere. I am sure Women get these a lot more often and a lot longer than most men. My wife gets dozens….I get one or two a month and they dry up after a year or so. Men must not be impulse buyers.

Now ebay is a whole other story.

Bruces last blog post..The Bigger Perspective

Somehow, they’ve got our number!

But eBay is pretty tempting.

Hatchet August 28, 2008 at 6:11 pm

Those pots! Aieee! Be still my heart! You…you have POT PORN on your website.

Depth, woman. Depth!

You know, it never occurred to me to think they’d hammer those dents in by hand. That must be why it costs so much. If they wanted to save some cash, they could just set some kids loose in the factory and get a bunch of dents.

BTW, the twins are waiting for you to look at their latest pics.

Hatchets last blog post..Eleven Months

Send your kids here, and we’ll see if they can make my current pots and pans look like that! Bring earplugs!

I can’t promise there won’t ever be pot porn (ha!) on here again.

Andi August 28, 2008 at 10:08 pm


One day, I will be rich enough to outfit my entire Viking kitchen with Williams-Sonoma treats, and thin enough to wear Victoria Secret underthings.

Until then, I’ll look for you at Target and Lane Bryant.


Andis last blog post..Bad Mom/Good Mom

Maybe there could be a personal trainer who would help guarantee that no matter how much we enjoy what comes out of the cookware, we could still look good in VS stuff. There, I’ve solved it. Maybe.

Midlife Mama August 28, 2008 at 11:10 pm

Ah yes, cookware lust. Pretty much anything WS lust. And Pottery Barn lust. And Ikea lust. I’ll probably get Ikea before I get WS. **sigh**

And Victoria’s Secret? I haven’t looked good in VS since before my 1st child was born. And that was–oh–25 years ago or so. Anymore? Not so much.

Me and the Granny Panties from Lane Bryant are carrying on in secret. I flaunt the VS catalog like I’m so “all that” and hide my Lane Bryant one in the back closet underneath the pants that don’t fit anymore. Shhhh, don’t tell.

Midlife Mamas last blog post..Queen Emily Rocked. The. House!!!!! — UPDATED

My first child was born 9 years ago, and boy, do I hear you. Also, you’ve been in my closet, haven’t you? I won’t tell if you don’t.

Midlife Mama August 28, 2008 at 11:15 pm

And to Bad Mom/Good Mom? The dichotomy in your comment is this: in order to be thin enough in the Victoria’s Secret stuff, you have to not to eat anything that might come out of the Williams-Sonoma cookware. So the conundrum would be — would you have the cookware and just look at it, so you’ll be thin enough to fit into the Victoria’s Secret? Or do you succumb to cookware love and gaze longingly at the Victoria’s Secret in your drawer that no longer fits?


Me, again…Well, crap. You pose an excellent question, and I think I’m doomed. Since I’ve known me for 40 years, I think the safe bet is on cookware, every single time. –Jennifer

Milena August 29, 2008 at 6:53 am

This post of yours was an absolute delight. You had me smiling from ear to ear. And I know, my personal downfall is the Anthropologie catalogue. I can never resist it.

Milenas last blog post..Leaping Thought Wednesday

Denise @ EatPlayLove August 29, 2008 at 12:33 pm

I could spend hours drooling over beautiful kitchen tools. My personal favorites are LeCreuset pans, I couldn’t live with out them! Well, maybe if someone else was doing the cooking.

Denise @ EatPlayLoves last blog post..College 10 Years Later

Stacie August 30, 2008 at 6:51 pm

Are you really supposed to cook in that hammered metal whatsamajiggers? I thought maybe one was supposed to build an altar and light incense in front of them…

Stacies last blog post..MAD MADGE is seriously in TROUBLE!

Sandy (Momisodes) August 31, 2008 at 7:28 pm

A panini press? *angel choir sings* I do believe that William Sonoma exists in heaven.

p.s. I’m right there with you on the Target and the panties.

Sandy (Momisodes)s last blog post..Weekly Winners

Suzanne August 31, 2008 at 10:14 pm

Oh, how I hear you on the Williams Sonoma envy. I was in the employ of that company for 18 months and didn’t even scratch the surface of my wish list. I do have some nice baking pans for the time spent with them, though.

Vicky and I just never got along. Something about lacking cute, comfortable bras for women who wear anything larger than a 36C.

Thankfully, my relationship with Lane Bryant was severed a couple of years ago. We’re still friends, but we just can’t agree on what is suitable for a size 14!

Suzannes last blog post..Suzanne’s Soundtrack Sunday

San September 1, 2008 at 7:40 pm

I’m one of those women who gets more hot and bothered looking at the Williams Sonoma than the Victoria’s Secret. I was once guilty of buying a megapack of Jockey for Her at Sam’s Club.

Sans last blog post..Belongings and Belonging

manager mom September 2, 2008 at 6:42 pm

Oh man… I HATE cooking, and yet even I covet those pans.

manager moms last blog post..At Least I Know What She Wanted To Buy At Target

JCK September 2, 2008 at 10:35 pm

There’s NOTHING boyish about those knickers, you HOT MAMA! I’m going to Target TONIGHT.

JCKs last blog post..Would I have glimpsed their sweetness?

Trooper Thorn September 3, 2008 at 12:23 am

Just like Gretchen Wilson sings “I don’t need no designer tags to make my man want me!”

Can we hear a big “Hell Yeah” from the Red Neck Girls?

Trooper Thorns last blog post..Ask Your Doctor if CNN is Right for You.

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